(HARTFORD, CT) – Earlier this week, State Representatives Jennifer Leeper (D–Fairfield, Southport) and Kate Farrar (D–West Hartford) commemorated World Refugee Day by celebrating the inclusion of $1 million in the state budget to provide financial assistance to refugee resettlement agencies and to help close the ‘welcome gap’ faced by Connecticut’s refugees. The Representatives have worked directly with refugee assistance agencies across the state, including Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS), Connecticut Institute for Refugee and Immigrants (CIRI), and Jewish Family Services (JFS), in response to the influx of refugees arriving from Afghanistan and Ukraine and the crucial need for additional funding.
The funding secured in the state budget will provide each arriving refugee with a one-time grant of $1,000 to compensate for high costs of living in Connecticut by covering expenses such as rent, utilities, transportation, food, English language instruction, and job training. The funds will be directly allocated to the sponsoring refugee resettlement agencies.
The U.S. Department of State allocates a per capita allowance of $2,275 per refugee to resettlement agencies, with $1,225 supporting direct client expenses, including rental assistance. Connecticut’s high cost of living drains these funds during refugees’ first few months of living in the state, but it typically takes five months for refugees to find employment that will cover their living expenses. These interim months are known as the ‘welcome gap’. The additional funding in the state budget works to close that existing gap.
“I am so proud that we were able to secure this critical funding for our refugee resettlement agencies to support the influx of refugees arriving from Afghanistan and Ukraine and further work to close the ‘welcome gap’. We want to keep refugees in our state and ensure that they have the necessary resources to live fulfilling and productive lives here,” said Rep. Leeper. “Thank you to Governor Lamont for approving these funds. I look forward to continued work with State Representative Farrar and our resettlement agencies to see how we can further support our refugee communities.”
“As the wife of a refugee, I’ve learned firsthand how critical immediate resources and support are as families resettle in a new community,” Rep. Farrar said. “I am proud of our work to secure funding for hundreds of refugees to rebuild their lives and thrive in our state.”
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